Never Give Up!

Cowboy movie poster1In the pioneer spirit, I thought I would share a little story about persistence and finding your niche, in whatever you do, whatever your motivation. I have always loved westerns, especially movies with John Wayne. So when I started writing it never occurred to me to set my stories anywhere else, whether I wrote historical or contemporary.  After five years, and countless rejection letters, I sold my first manuscript.  Even though I consider myself a Christian, I sold to the secular market without a qualm.  At the time, I didn’t see a contradiction in my faith versus my career.  For many, this never becomes a problem.  Why would it be a problem for me?

That first sale brought lots of validation.  All my hard work had finally paid off.  I’d arrived.  I was doing something important.  I was God’s vessel. 

I was woefully misleading myself.

Within months of that first book hitting the shelves I was released by my publisher, no explanation.  Enter a very long, very frustrating dry spell.  I rationalized why I couldn’t sell another book.  It was everyone else’s fault, of course.  Westerns were dead, the market was shrinking and, my favorite reason of all, the editors didn’t like people with the first name Renee.

Long story short, the pursuit of publishing my second novel to a traditional publishing house became an obsession. I secretly feared I was destined to be a one-book-wonder and, thus, held on too tight, forced things where I should have let go.  I stayed true to the process.  I wrote new stories.  I submitted the manuscripts.  I revised according to editor suggestions.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I still received rejections, one right after another.  What was a girl to do? 

I quit.

Not my shining hour.  However, I did gain perspective.  I focused on everything in my life that wasn’t writing related.  I started working on my relationships with my family and began trusting God with the outcome of all my endeavors.  I’d never done that before.  

Around this same time, I had an AHA moment.  What if the next story is the one that hits?  I started writing again.  But this time, I figured if I was going to collect rejections I might as well swing for the fences and stop playing it safe.  I was going to write the book I wanted to read.  The resulting book was my first attempt at writing Inspirational romance.  I never thought I would do that, and I mean never.  But by the time I wrote “the end” I’d found my home.  Writing isn’t any easier than it was during that dry spell, but I go about putting stories together very differently. I’m just the quill and the Lord is the Great Author. This new approach brings me unspeakable peace (and joy!). 

So what’s the point in all this? Whether you’re a writer or a reader or something in between, you should always…

Swing for the fences.  Never play it safe.  Don’t give your failures too much brain power or take your successes for granted.  The rest will work itself out in time

Claiming the Doctors Heart Cover art

In a few weeks, my fourteenth novel, CLAIMING THE DOCTOR’S HEART, will be available in stores and online.  In celebration, I’m giving away five copies.  Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible for the drawing.  Here’s more about the book:

After losing her high-powered job, Olivia Scott finds herself back home in Colorado. She never imagined she’d be taking care of kids, let alone being the nanny to longtime crush Dr. Connor Mitchell’s adorable twin girls. But what began as a favor to the handsome widower is growing into something more. Connor’s confused by his growing feelings for his best friend’s little sister. She’s become a beautiful woman with a caring soul, but he can’t risk his—or his girls’—heart. Olivia’s planning to head back to her city life. Unless this small-town doctor can convince her to stay…forever. 

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Award-winning, multi-published author Renee Ryan sold her first book by winning the 2001 inaugural Dorchester/Romantic Times New Historical Voice Contest. She sold her second book to Harlequin Love Inspired Historical and has since sold nine more manuscripts to Love Inspired and Love Inspired Historical.

37 thoughts on “Never Give Up!”

  1. I’m glad you didn’t give up. You’ve kept many of us entertained through your books. I don’t know if I would have had the strength to keep going. Your new book sounds really good and can’t wait to read it.

  2. I’m so grateful you shared your story. People tend to focus on successes, which I think sometimes paints a false picture that everything is easy for everybody but us!! And that’s not true – we all struggle.

  3. Hi Janine! Thank you for your sweet words. Every time I read about the pioneers and the brave people forging the Oregon Trail I think, “No way, not me. I wouldn’t have made it. I’d have given up before the Platte River.” I guess we all have our limits. 😉

  4. Sherri, you’re right. It’s easy to tell the world about our “wins” but not so much about our “failures.” Yet, it’s the failures that teach us the most. Same goes for bad reviews, which I’ve collected my share of as well. 😉

  5. What an encouraging post, Renee. I’m so glad you found your niche. Perseverance is not for the faint of heart. I’m so glad you stuck with it, and even more thrilled that you found the place God wanted you to be. That makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

  6. Bless you for your perseverance, Renee!!! Love the cover on your new book and would really enjoy reading it.
    Thanks!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

  7. Thank you for sharing! I love to stay in my “safe” bubble of never putting myself out too far. But as you mentioned, we don’t get to see what God has in store for us then – we need to swing for the fences!! God far and long and see what glorious wonders He has for us out there. 🙂
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

  8. I love the idea of being a “God vessel”! I’ve been teaching religion for over 30 years (CCD), & I always tell the kids that we have to remember that it’s HIS will that needs to be done, not our’s.

  9. What a testimony! I know writing a cookbook isn’t a big thing (& You’re A Preacher’s Wife? Cookbook) but after reviewing all the church styles I decided to let God and I do it ourselves. It includes funny stories from my missionary & preacherwife days (including going to jail for brass knuckles in my backpack) and recipes that let you know when to lick your fingers (I was a home ec teacher). Published it myself and 650 copies later, I’m about ready to put out my 2nd book. I didn’t want it edited away but needed God’s testimony and more. So glad I did. Would love to read your stories!

  10. I am so glad you continued writing…. you have given us such wonderful stories and characters to enjoy.

  11. Your post was very inspiring! My husband and I are going through those kind of changes right now. We both have been in ministry but had to take step back for good reasons. but now we are listening to the Lord and asking him for our new direction. Its hard to listen when others persuade you to do what they think is better. We know he has a plan for us it’s just a matter of sitting and listening. I cant wait for the next season in our lives as a family. I love your books and I’m so glad you didn’t give up! 🙂

  12. Hi Renee, what a wonderful career you’ve got going now! (I do remember sharing those dark slumpy days with you). It’s hard to trust and let yourself get led. I honestly thought inspy was the way to go for me, too, but there are a lot of dead ends going on right now. Family junk too. Ironically my secular historicals seem more wanted and more successful. Crazy. But at the end of the day, it’s all good. Wishing you continued success and a million more books, my friend. xo

  13. Cori, I so agree. Hearing God’s voice can be very difficult. Reading about your journey I’m reminded of the song by Casting Crowns, The Voice of Truth! God’s voice is always there for us, we just have to listen. So easy to say, so very difficult to do. Hang in there!

  14. Oh, yeah, Tanya, some very dark days. I love that you shared your path, which has turned out different from mine. Just goes to show…we all have our own journey in this life.

  15. Such a great post and wonderful words of encouragement, Renee! I am so glad you found your writing home! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your wonderful book!

  16. I am glad you gave writing more thought and decided to try again. If you aren’t writing something you enjoy or believe in, it becomes a chore and isn’t your best. I read many different genre and enjoy most. There are a few I don’t care for and avoid. It doesn’t mean those books are bad or the authors aren’t good writers. It just means they aren’t right for me. It should be no different for an author. You should enjoy what you are writing and not feel you must write something you aren’t comfortable with.

  17. Glad you stuck with it. I quit before I got started. Still hope to pick it back up. The book sounds very interesting and I would like to read it.

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